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Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Asus ZenBook Flip S review: A surprisingly fast ultrabook with a 4K OLED screen

The Asus ZenBook Flip S is a solid machine with Intel’s 11th-generation processor, a 4K OLED display, great speakers, a superior stylus, and a keyboard that is comfortable to use in a slim and thin form factor.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Rs. 149990
Written by Anuj Bhatia | New Delhi |
Updated: December 19, 2020 8:53:04 am
Asus ZenBook Flip S, Asus ZenBook Flip S price in India, Asus ZenBook Flip S review, Asus ZenBook Flip S specs, best laptops with Intel 11th gen processorsAsus' ZenBook Flip S is a high-end convertible with Intel's latest 11th gen processor. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

When you do a Google search for a laptop that’s both powerful and slim, very few options come up. While there is a segment for ultrabooks that meet the needs of many people but not every notebook in that category has been geared towards “entertainment.” Surprisingly, Asus’ new ZenBook Flip S seems to be among a handful of ultrabooks that showcase the prowess of the Tiger Lake CPU in a slim form factor. Not to forget, this 2-in-1 has a 4K OLED screen as well as great audio. But will you spend Rs 149,990 on a notebook when the new MacBook Pro with the M1 chip costs the same? We will find out all that and more in our detailed review.

Asus ZenBook Flip S price in India: Rs 149,990

Asus ZenBook Flip S review: Design and build

The ZenBook Flip S gives the impression of a high-end notebook. You can feel the premiumness of the laptop the way it has been designed. The laptop is made of an aluminum alloy and the build is solid. At 1.2Kg, the ZenBook Flip S is extremely light and I had no issues fitting this laptop in my backpack or laptop sleeve. The lid is black with Asus signature concentric circles, and it’s impossible not to get swayed by the notebook.

Being a 2-in-1 convertible laptop, the ZenBook Flip S lets you swivel the screen a full 360 degree. Apart from using the Flip S as a standard laptop, you can tilt the screen back or put it in a tent mode. It can also be converted into a tablet with touch and pen support (Asus stylus is included in the box) but it’s best to use it as a laptop, sitting on a desk or lap.

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Asus ZenBook Flip S, Asus ZenBook Flip S price in India, Asus ZenBook Flip S review, Asus ZenBook Flip S specs, best laptops with Intel 11th gen processors The laptop is made of an aluminum alloy and the build is solid. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Asus ZenBook Flip S review: Ports and biometric authentication

The ZenBook Flip S has a better port selection than many notebooks in the same category. On the left, you will find an HDMI connection, two USB-C ports with support for Thunderbolt 4. On the right-hand side, there is a single USB-A port and power button. Unfortunately, the notebook lacks a 3.55mm headphone jack, though you get a USB-C dongle with a 3.5mm port in the box.

The notebook does not have a physical fingerprint scanner; instead, the webcam comes with Windows Hello facial recognition. That means you will no longer need to type a long password or PIN to unlock the laptop. I found Windows Hello facial recognition authentication method mostly reliable. It had no issues giving me access to the notebook, even without my glasses on. Disappointingly, though, the 720p web camera is average. Now that everyone is working from home and video calling is the default medium to communicate with clients and colleagues, a laptop as expensive as the ZenBook Flip S should have come with a 1080p webcam.

Asus ZenBook Flip S, Asus ZenBook Flip S price in India, Asus ZenBook Flip S review, Asus ZenBook Flip S specs, best laptops with Intel 11th gen processors Apart from using the Flip S as a standard laptop, you can tilt the screen back or put it in a tent mode. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Asus ZenBook Flip S review: Display and audio quality

The screen is perhaps the highlight of the ZenBook Flip S. It’s not any ordinary LCD screen found in 98 per cent of high-end notebooks. Instead, it’s a 13.3-inch 4K OLED panel with touch capability. While the screen is of an OLED variety, it does not stretch from edge-to-edge. That’s not a bummer, actually. The 4K OLED screen is above the notch, with deep blacks, rich colours, and decent viewing angles. With the adoption of OLED screens growing inexpensive smartphones and TVs, I would expect laptop makers to extensively use OLED panels for an immersive experience on premium notebooks. That makes a lot of sense, especially now when a lot of consumers like myself spend more time watching TV shows and movies on a laptop than on their TVs.

The brilliant 4K OLED display is complemented by excellent speakers. Though they don’t get as loud as the ones seen on the 16-inch MacBook Pro, the speakers sound rounded and full. When I played Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” on the Flip S, I could hear the vocals clearly and there was no distortion at higher volumes.

Asus ZenBook Flip S, Asus ZenBook Flip S price in India, Asus ZenBook Flip S review, Asus ZenBook Flip S specs, best laptops with Intel 11th gen processors The keys are decently sized and the backlit keyboard is comfortable to type on. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Asus ZenBook Flip S review: Keyboard and trackpad

Despite the ZenBook Flip S having a small footprint, its keyboard does not feel cramped. The keys are decently sized and the backlit keyboard is comfortable to type on. I had no trouble with the ZenBook Flip S’s responsive trackpad, which incorporates Numberbad 2.0. All you need is to tap an icon in the top right corner of the touchpad, an LED touch-based Numpad pops up. The Numpad works well for a laptop of this size.

Asus ZenBook Flip S, Asus ZenBook Flip S price in India, Asus ZenBook Flip S review, Asus ZenBook Flip S specs, best laptops with Intel 11th gen processors The Numpad works well for a laptop of this size. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)

Asus ZenBook Flip S review: Performance and battery

The Flip S’s claim to fame is Intel’s latest Tiger Lake processor. My review unit came with a quad-core Core i7-1165G7 with Xe integrated graphics, along with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. So it’s a fairly powerful machine but I did not see a drastic difference between the 10th generation processors and 11th gen processors. I could open multiple Chrome tabs open; edit images; play music on Apple Music; stream my favorite show on Amazon Prime Video and edit a Google Doc file all at the same time. The Flip S is a powerful machine…but this isn’t a laptop designed to run professional programmes and AAA-titles like Forza Horizon 4. Folks like me will never have issues with the Flip S, because I could do a majority of daily tasks without any issue.

One thing I particularly didn’t like about the Flip S is its battery life. Even though the notebook comes with a 67Wh battery, I got approximately four and a half hours. This was when I set the resolution to 3840x2160p — but you can turn the resolution to 1080p to increase the battery. The Flip S laptop does charge fast, though. It takes 60 minutes to fully charge the battery.

Asus ZenBook Flip S review: Should you buy it?

The Asus ZenBook Flip S is a solid machine with Intel’s 11th-generation processor, a 4K OLED display, great speakers, a superior stylus, and a keyboard that is comfortable to use in a slim and thin form factor. But I am not sure if the Flip S is able to compete with Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro that comes with the newly launched M1 processor. This could be the option for most people who want a laptop with all-day battery life and great performance. You won’t get a 4K OLED screen, though.

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